Country Grocer (then called Food Country) first opened in Nanaimo, BC in August 1984 as an independent store buying from a wholesaler. We developed our business with a key set of values in mind. First and most importantly, our customers would receive the best in meats, seafood and fresh produce with a wide variety of quality foodstuffs and grocery items at reasonable prices. Secondly, Country Grocer would provide support to community groups, sports teams and local charities in the neighbourhood surrounding our stores. Furthermore, our staff would be committed getting to know our customers better in order to deliver on their expectations and desires. Much to our delight, the Nanaimo store was immediately successful and we quickly followed up with a second store in 1986. Located in the Esquimalt Shopping Centre in Victoria, BC the store became the primary grocery retailer for this fast growing neighbourhood.
In 1997, we saw a unique partnership opportunity to form the Island Independent Buying Group (IIBG). With our three stores (Nanaimo, Esquimalt and Royal Oak), the IIBG included five retailers, serving customers in Greater Victoria and Salt Spring Island. Through the partnership we developed a warehouse and delivery system allowing our stores to increase their buying volumes significantly. By being able to stock larger quantities of popular products, we were able to pass along the savings to our customers, which in turn, earned all of our stores stronger loyalty.
Even with our quick growth, we remained committed to our core values, ensuring that selection, service and community support were integrated into the operation and development of all our stores. Our customers appreciated this dedication and continued to reward us with their business.
Over the next few years, we improved our stores through upgrades and renovations. In 1999, we saw an opportunity to expand our service to the fast growing up Island community of Cobble Hill and purchased an existing store to convert into a Country Grocer. In 2000, we undertook a massive renovation to a larger space in the Royal Oak mall, allowing our store to move into completely “new” space. The Royal Oak Country Grocer opened with a fresh new look that our customers loved. Thanks to this larger space, we’re able to continue meeting the needs of a growing customer base in this busy neighbourhood.
In 2006, the Lake Cowichan Country Grocer opened its doors to a fresh new grocery store was welcomed to another growing community. In October 2008, Country Grocer in South Nanaimo opened the doors to a new 40,000 square foot home. This store addition boasts a huge produce department, service meat and seafood counters, a full scratch bakery, a deli and in-store cafe featuring freshly made soups, sandwiches and organic coffee. In September of 2009 we celebrated the grand re-opening of Country Grocer Esquimalt.
Our newest store on Bowen Road in Nanaimo opened October 20th 2012. We opened our doors to a 45,000 square foot store at 1800 Dufferin Cres built from the ground up. The store includes all the ammenities of the South Nanaimo store including a full service cafe.